Thursday, December 27, 2012

Why Jesus Came Into the World

Now the virginity of Mary was hidden from the prince of this world, as was also her offspring, and the death of the Lord; three mysteries of renown, which were wrought in silence by God. How, then, was He manifested to the world? A star shone forth in heaven above all the other stars, the light of which was inexpressible, while its novelty struck men with astonishment. And all the rest of the stars, with the sun and moon, formed a chorus to this star, and its light was exceedingly great above them all. And there was agitation felt as to whence this new spectacle came, so unlike to everything else [in the heavens]. Hence every kind of magic was destroyed, and every bond of wickedness disappeared; ignorance was removed, and the old kingdom abolished, God Himself being manifested in human form for the renewal of eternal life. And now that took a beginning which had been prepared by God. Henceforth all things were in a state of tumult, because He meditated the abolition of death.

- St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to the Ephesians)

We have, then, now stated in part, as far as it was possible, and as ourselves had been able to understand, the reason of His bodily appearing; that it was in the power of none other to turn the corruptible to incorruption, except the Savior Himself, that had at the beginning also made all things out of nought and that none other could create anew the likeness of God's image for men, save the Image of the Father; and that none other could render the mortal immortal, save our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Very Life; and that none other could teach men of the Father, and destroy the worship of idols, save the Word, that orders all things and is alone the true Only-begotten Son of the Father.

- St. Athanasius of Alexandria (On the Incarnation of the Word)

The reasons why Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world are these: 1. The love of God for the human race: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (John 3:16). 2. The restoration in fallen humanity of the image and likeness of God, as the holy Church celebrates it: "Man who, being made in the image of God, had become corrupt through sin, and was full of vileness, and had fallen away from the better life Divine, doth the wise Creator restore anew" (First Canon of Matins for the Nativity of Christ). 3. The salvation of men’s souls: "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17). And so we, in conformance with the purposes of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, should spend our life in accordance with this Divine teaching, so that through it we may obtain the salvation of our souls.

- St. Seraphim of Sarov (The Reasons Why Jesus Christ Came into the World)

Prayer to the Lord Who was Born

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

Jesus, Son of the Father without mother according to divinity, 
I glorify You the eternal Who is above every entreaty and word.

Jesus, Son of a Mother without father according to humanity, 
I glorify You Who became man for us.

Jesus, Emmanuel unchanged, for You are the Angel-bearer of the great message of salvation, 
I thank You for Your great love for man.

Jesus, spotless Lamb of God, 
I ever confess You, for I am the lost sheep.

Jesus, most-compassionate Comforter, 
make the grace of your Spirit to work within me.

Jesus, new Adam, 
take from me the old man, and establish in me the new.

Jesus, You Who descended to earth, 
make me worthy to have my habitation in the heavens.

Jesus, You Who took on human nature, 
make me a partaker in the grace of theosis.

Jesus, my breath, come to visit me.

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